Northstar Travel & Associates's Blog

Get into the French Gourmet Culinary Spirit even on your Trans-Atlantic Flight

Michelin-starred cuisine airplane food? Oui, c'est possible! French Michelin-starred chefs have signed new menus in Air France's La Premiere (First) and Business cabins.

Until the end of this year, travelers flying on Air France on board long-haul flights departing from Paris, will be able to enjoy new dishes signed by renowned French chefs Régis Marcon in La Première class and by Guy Martin in Business class.

Régis Marcon, a triple-starred chef in La Première cabin: The Bounty of the Autumn Season in France

To continue to surprise Air France’s La Première customers with inventive gourmet cuisine, Régis Marcon is signing new dishes for the remainder of 2016; unique gourmet creations concocted with the best French produce. By choosing this triple Michelin-starred Chef, Air France wishes to promote its role of ambassador of fine French cuisine around the world. From Ardèche to Auvergne, between the plains and mountains between Velay and Vivarais, Régis Marcon offers his interpretations of authentic cuisine with a particular emphasis on seasonal produce.

Just look at the autumn abundance of French gastronomy in these dishes:

  • Duck and wild mushroom terrine
  • Chicken terrine
  • John Dory fillet in a white butter sauce with verbena, chanterelles and spinach,
  • Braised veal shank,
  • Chicken with black morels.
  • Catfish and shrimp bouillabaisse-style,
  • Duck pâté en croûte.

In Business Class, Guy Martin, the renowned chef of Le Grand Véfour: Global Flavors

Air France is entrusting its Business menu for the rest of 2016 to Guy Martin, honoured with two Michelin stars. On departure from Paris, on board long-haul flights and certain medium-haul flights, the chef invites travelers to discover or rediscover a selection of main dishes, inspired by global flavors and changed every two weeks, including:

  • Cod, basmati rice with curcuma, mashed courgette with cashew nuts, coconut sauce fragranced with Espelette pepper;
  • Veal chuck chop with fried wild mushrooms, artichoke puree and organic beetroot and blackcurrant sauce;
  • Fried prawns, broccoli with ginger, butternut puree with shellfish and parsley sauce;
  • Orecchiette pasta with squid and rocket, tomato fragranced with coriander;
  • Roast breast of guinea fowl, carrot and cardamom puree, organic red quinoa risotto and  cranberry juice;
  • Veal stew fragranced with Maniguette pepper, penne pasta with organic corn, vegetables and baby onions.

It will be less difficult to leave France behind with cuisine like this to enjoy on your flight home!

What if you're Flying to Paris? Gourmet French cuisine isn't a one-way street… or flight.

Air France passengers lucky enough to be departing from Los Angeles, New York and Washington and traveling to Paris-Charles de Gaulle will have the opportunity to dine on cuisine it's tough to get a reservation for on the ground!

Until March, 2017, you can enjoy dishes on board created by Daniel Boulud (pictured), the renowned Michelin-starred French chef based in the United States. His restaurants have made him an influential player on the New York food scene, with his flagship restaurant “Daniel” listed as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, acclaimed for its excellent cuisine and service.

For the meals on board, as only the French can describe, 'Daniel Boulud brings creativity and soulfulness to dishes based in French technique and enlivened with global flavors and spices.'

Full Service

The French understand that you eat with your eyes as well as with your tastebuds.

So your gourmet meal is served with items designed by the masters in the art of dining à la française (French style). Your dinner is served at your convenience and presented on a white tablecloth and table set designed by Jean-Marie Massaud, including a Bernardaud porcelain plate and beveled Christofle glasses and flatware.  Each of these stylish elements also displays the art deco winged seahorse, the symbol of Air France

All we can say is, Bon Appetit!

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One Hotel Chain Aims for a Clean Bill of Health with its Corporate Responsibility Program

Business and frequent travelers, have you ever thought about how many of those little soaps you leave behind in your hotel room after you've used them only a few times?  Ever wondered what happens to them?

Hilton has announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to reduce hygiene-related illnesses for communities in need.

This is a major expansion – nearly doubling – of what is already the travel industry's largest soap recycling program. 1,370 hotels across Hilton's portfolio will now be participating.  And it's the first time in the industry this is required as a brand standard, so all of Hilton's All Suites, including Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton will be part of the program.

Through its partnerships with Clean the World and other organizations, Hilton's hotels have already collected more than a million pounds of partially-used soap!  That's been recycled into more than four million new bars of soap.

Here's how your leftover hotel soap and mini shampoo helps people in need: hotels' partially-used soaps and amenities are shipped to Clean the World's collection and recycling centers. There they are processed, remanufactured into new soap bars and prepared for distribution to homeless shelters, community centers and medical facilities in impoverished communities around the world. In addition to supplying the soap, these organizations educate people about the importance of hygiene and hand washing.

In a double win, the program has also prevented more than 570 tons of waste going to landfills.

That's not all this hotel chain is doing for the environment. In addition to its soap recycling program, Hilton's Travel with a Purpose sustainability initiatives include not allowing microbeads in any of its amenities globally.

Hilton President & CEO Christopher J. Nassetta visited a hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador to deliver recycled soap while in the country for a conference (pictured). Here's what he says about his and the company's motivation for the project:

"We are strongly committed to helping communities around the world through our Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility program, including our soap recycling partnership. Nearly two million children die every year from preventable hygiene-related illnesses, and simple hand washing could cut these rates by nearly 50 percent."

Clean the World says this expansion of Hilton's soap recycling program will contribute to saving the lives of thousands of children every year.

We give this program two (clean) thumbs up.

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Behind the Scenes: A Year of Culinary Experiences at the World's Largest Luxury Hotel/Resort Company

Half a million bottles of champagne, 9 Michelin starred restaurants, 81 million meals… When we travel for business or pleasure, alone, with our families, or a large group, how often do we pause to think what it takes to deliver 5-star service any time of day, at any hotel or resort in the world, to any guest or group?

Now, as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations, the world’s largest luxury hotel brand has offered us a glimpse into how it delivers five-star service around the clock, across over 180 hotels and resorts from Marseille to Macau.  

A year of luxury cuisine in numbers at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: 

  • 81 million meals served  
  • 27 million pastries made for guests 
  • 500,000 bottles of Champagne are popped 
  • 400kg of honey is produced by bees at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts 
  • 166 years is the oldest bottle of vintage wine available for guests to order
  • 9 Michelin starred restaurants across the InterContinental brand portfolio  

When your hospitality heritage includes catering to the world’s most illustrious faces, from the likes of Princess Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Martin Luther King to The Rolling Stones, Elton John and Queen Elizabeth II, partnering with Michelin star and celebrity chefs and restaurants is par for the course.

The company's current stable includes Gordon Ramsay at InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hôtel, Daniel Corey at InterContinental San Francisco, Theo Randall at InterContinental London Park Lane, Lionel Levy at the InterContinental Marseille Hôtel Dieu, Jason Atherton at InterContinental Dubai Marina and 2015’s ‘world’s best chef’ Pierre Gagnaire, at ANA InterContinental Tokyo and InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. InterContinental Hong Kong manages to offer an impressive three Michelin stars all under one roof.

Now, some of these chefs have shared the efforts required to ensure guests experience the very best luxury dining during their stay… and what inspires them about the restaurants, guests, and destinations they serve.

Michelin-starred Jason Atherton of Marina Social at InterContinental Dubai Marina: “In an unbeatable location overlooking panoramic views of the waterfront, the restaurant’s concept celebrates de-formalized dining within a relaxed, social atmosphere. What’s always been really important to me is that we engage with our customers. So, we created an open kitchen and dessert bar, where guests can watch and interact with the chefs during their meal, and of course the DJ booth, unique to this Social, which won’t be replicated anywhere else in the world – it’s Dubai’s Social.”

Daniel Corey, Michelin Star chef at Luce at InterContinental San Francisco: “I was part of the opening team in early 2008. The InterContinental brand knows that restaurants and bars go hand in hand with travel experiences. They have given me a lot of creativity when it comes to developing and executing menus for our clientele, allowing us to offer a distinct dining experience at our Michelin-star restaurant, casual fare at our bar, and a room service menu that really showcases the best products and ingredients throughout Northern California.”

Theo Randall, Chef Patron of Theo Randall at InterContinental London Park Lane, which is celebrating its 10th birthday: “I am very proud to be celebrating this milestone with the launch of a new look and menu, in the same year as the InterContinental brand’s 70th anniversary. Together we have grown from strength to strength with numerous awards over the years. It has been a pleasure to partner with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and be a part of their signature repertoire made up of over seventy years’ experience catering for guests across the globe.”

Cocktails

If you're traveling and staying at an InterContinental Hotel soon, look out for something new at the bar: the recently-launched Worldly Classics Cocktail Menu, a carefully crafted selection of seven classic cocktails, to be enjoyed by guests all over the world. The menu, which includes Dry Martini, Negroni and the Eastern Breeze mocktail, will be rolling out across all InterContinental Hotels & Resorts globally beginning this year.

Dining with Kids

This follows the launch of the brand’s Planet Trekkers Children Menu, developed by Theo Randall and leading children’s food expert and best –selling international author Annabel Karmel. It features dishes that embrace flavors, textures, smells and tastes that will take children on an educational voyage around the world, while ensuring a nutritionally balanced meal with their parents. 

With ten openings in the past year alone including new hotels in London, Dubai, Chennai, and Beijing, as well as the reopening of the legendary InterContinental New York Barclay earlier this year, the iconic brand continues to build its luxury and culinary legacy.

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Are you a Bleisure Traveler? Pack these Tips for your next Trip.

Bleisure travel is like a mullet haircut: 'business at the front, party at the back'. It's a new term that has cropped up recently, a portmanteau word combining 'business' and 'leisure' - meaning travelers who attach leisure travel onto a business trip.

This is not new.  And there are many who deny such a 'trend' exists. But there's a new awareness of 'bleisure' travelers and a need to provide those travelers  - with tight schedules and multiple travel agendas - opportunities to enjoy their travels even on a work-related trip.   I say, 'bring it on'.

By: Lynn Elmhirst, executive producer and host, BestTrip.TV

As a travel expert, journalist, TV producer, host and entrepreneur, I lead a busy life, and much of it is on the road.  But I have always taken to heart my Granny's advice to 'stop and smell the roses'.  

Here are my tips for travelers who want to put a little 'party' in their business travel. 

1. Take even a small break.

Some have defined bleisure travelers as those who extend a business trip at least for one Saturday stay on either side (usually the back end) of a business trip. Personally, I feel that's much too narrow. I think bleisure kicks in any time you can carve out some personal time – at the beginning, end or during a business trip. It can be a couple of hours, a couple half-days, or yes, a couple or more days outside your business obligations.

We had an intense filming schedule in Russia that ended up without our crew ever having a full day off. But we did end our filming one day near the famed Hermitage art museum-in-a-palace.  To my surprise, the entire crew – very different ages, backgrounds and interests – all wanted to explore inside.  And that experience – while not as long as many avid art lovers might spend there – became one of our favorite memories of Russia.  If we'd decided we didn't have 'long enough' to 'do it right', we might have missed it altogether.

How could you miss this?  The Grand Staircase entry at the Hermitage.  BestTrip.TV

For some people, just an early morning run or cycle around the city for an hour invigorates and gives them a way to explore their destination.

2. Be open to new experiences.

The top 'bleisure' travel destinations naturally reflect the corporate world.  Especially in Europe, they don't always align perfectly with traditional top holiday travel destinations. Top Bleisure destinations in Europe include Lisbon, Nice, and Istanbul, outranking top leisure destinations of London, Paris, and Rome.

This means you could well end up in a destination that has never been on your travel bucket list.  I call that: opportunity. 

Vespa Tours? Not on my list until I found myself in Tuscany for work.  BestTrip.TV

 

Some of my favorite and most memorable travel experiences have been ones that I would never have come up with myself, but that I encountered as a result of my work, and they opened my eyes to a whole new way of experiencing life.  

In fact, my very first cruise was for my work, not by my choice!  Two weeks on the Crystal Symphony converted me – no surprise! And now, cruise travel expertise is one of the things I'm best known for!

3. Book ahead.

Commit and pre-pay for your bleisure, and you'll be much more likely to take the break to enjoy your destination rather than letting work consume all your time.  If you know you have a wine tour booked, you'll be much more able to combat your instincts to tell yourself, 'If I stay in my hotel, I could get X done now…', and get out into those vineyards and tasting rooms.

Don't miss out on the vineyards!  BestTrip.TV

Don't make mental half-promises to yourself to enjoy your business destination, make a commitment that your trip will benefit your own life as well as benefiting your business.

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Looking for something different than your typical beach destination! Barbados has it all, from stunning coastlines , coral reefs , underground lakes and caves to incredible dinning that has something for everyone's palate. Not to be missed is Friday night fish fry at Oistins, here you will be able to order the many different types of fish, such as tuna, swordfish, red snapper, mahi -mahi- and even  flying fish, A wonderful evening filled with live music, dancing and a crafters market.

A visit to Harrison's Cave is a must see, one of Barbados 7 wonders , an underground cave with bubbling streams where stalactites and stalagmites were formed over a thousand years ago.

On my recent trip to Barbados, I did an afternoon catamaran cruise with a company called Cool Runnings, this has to be one of my most memorable moments, the crew of three were the most wonderful of hosts, they took us out to swim with the turtles provided the gear to snorkel out to see a few shipwrecks,  we ended day with a lovely  a dinner and a  beautiful sunset,for a few magical hours all the worries and stress of everyday living are far behind you , that is priceless!

There are many different types of accommodations in Barbados, very popular are villa rentals,self catering apartments and hotels. If you prefer to have an all inclusive resort  there are several hotels with this option,for couples Sandals just opened their first hotel in Barbados this year! 

For more information on Barbados please contact me, I would love to share more with you.

laurraine@northstartravel.ca or 519 886 9111  

 

 

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Historic Centre of Siena Siena’s history is ingrained in the art and architecture that it had influence on in Italy and Europe during the Middle Ages. The city’s historic center has been preserved to a remarkable degree and this makes it one of the hottest tourist destinations in Italy. read more
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Top 5 Adventure Destinations in Costa Rica Costa Rica occupies a pedestal spot in the Central American tourism industry. It is favored by the fact that it is the most stable and democratic country in Central America and also by the fact that it is bordered by two of the most majestic water bodies in the world - the Pacific Ocean to its west coast and the Caribbean Sea to its east coast. It is therefore no wonder that the country is also a hot destination for those seeking adventure. Below are the top adventure destinations in the country. read more
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Five reasons to visit Cape Getaway Show In 2013, the Cape Gateway Show attracted 250 exhibitors, 15, 524 visitors, and thousands of international tourists. Clearly, there must be something good that is happening at the show that attracts such huge numbers for a show that is barely 3 years. The fact that it is attracting all family members - teens included- further augments my belief that there is something incredible about this show. Below are some of the reasons why you should attend the show in 2014. read more
Embark on a sunset ride in Khan Khentii, Mongolia One of the very best ways to see Mongolia is by horseback. After all, the world's greatest conqueror, Genghis Khan, was an expert horse rider. Khan is said to have been born, and possibly buried in Khan Khentii, Mongolia - making this part of the vast country the idea area for a sunset horseback ride. read more
Tie The Knot In Style At The La Fenice Opera House In Venice Nearly everyone who plans a wedding wants the most lavishly elegant ceremony possible. Much of that elegance comes from the venue at which the ceremony is held. One venue that is sure to impress and make for some amazing wedding memories is the La Fenice Opera House in Venice, Italy. read more
Marvel at the beautiful sights of Salzburg on a cruise on the Salzach Perhaps the most famous news bite about Salzburg is that the 18th century music composition genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born here. However, a closer look at the place gives you memories of the Baroque-style architecture in its old town. In fact, United Nations Scientific, Education and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have named the city's Old Town a World Heritage Site. read more
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Take a quick cooking course while staying in Rio de Janeiro at "Cook in Rio" Rio de Janeiro is the second biggest city in Brazil after Brasilia. It is home to about 11.6 million people. Among these people include the native Latin Americans, the expatriate workers, and remnants of the Portuguese and Spanish who had colonized the country. The city also boasts a host of festivals throughout the year. It is within this mixture of cultures and festivities that the culinary genius of the Brazilian people comes to fore. read more
Riding the gondolas in Venice For Italians, the gondolas that float along the canals in Venice are a tremendous source of national and historical pride. They are a unique symbol of Venetian culture and are one of the most exciting (and romantic) activities for tourists to this eclectic Italian town. read more
How to get to your Dream Holiday Destination on a Small Budget Many people would love to have a trip to an exotic foreign holiday destination. However, modern economics dictate that this is not always possible. So what do you do? Do you give up on ever having a holiday in the place of your dreams? Do you wait until you get rich to start enjoying life? These are the problems most young ‘ungainfully’ employed people grapple with every day. However a few of them have found a way around this and would like to share their secrets with you. read more
Tour Jamaica on Horseback with Braco Stables Imagine watching the birds and the wildlife in jamaica on a horse back or having the horse swim while you are on its back. Better still experience life in a 300 year old sugar farm. These are experiences that will make your tour to the Caribbean nation stick with you long after you have left. read more
The Great Blue Hole of Belize Belize has the world's second longest coral reef - with an extraordinary natural feature. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth and sometimes is referred to as 'the mother of all caves'. read more
See the Copan Ruins in Honduras In the midst of the jungle there are things that go bump. Or clink. It's okay, it's just the glasses of the people sitting at the next table for dinner. Your mind is still wandering around the ruins looking for intricate hieroglyphs to tell you more about the lives of the people that once inhabited the area. read more